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Colorado law dictates who will inherit in the absence of a will

Some people in Colorado may intend to execute a will someday, but simply never get around to it. Other people may put off executing an estate plan because they don't want to think about their own death. Whatever the reason, people in Colorado sometimes die without ever executing a will or trust. When this happens, a person's estate will be passed on to their heirs through the laws of intestate succession.

Don't let the probate process overwhelm you

The term probate may be confusing to some in Colorado, while others may have a very negative opinion of it. Probate is simply the process through which the deceased's assets are gathered, creditors are paid and then what remains is passed on per the terms of the deceased's will or through the laws of intestate succession in the absence of a will or trust. A personal representative will be assigned to administer the estate. This person may be named in the deceased's will or be assigned by the court.

What are the duties of a personal representative in Colorado?

In both informal and formal probate proceedings in Colorado, if a person does not designate a personal representative in their will, the court will assign someone to this role. Personal representatives have many duties regarding the winding up of the decedent's estate. It is important that they understand what these duties are, as they could face personal liability should they fail to properly fulfill their role.

Does every estate need to go through the formal probate process?

Many people in Colorado may have heard of the term "probate" and they may envision it to be a long, complicated process. However, there are actually three types of estate administration processes here: those involving small estates, those involving uncontested (informal) estates and those involving contested (formal) estates. The probate process an estate will go through depends on the value of the estate and whether or not the estate is contested, including situations where there is an invalid or ambiguous will.

Probate does not have to be overwhelming

People in Colorado may have heard of the term "probate" and may not have a very favorable impression of it. Some people choose to take measures to avoid probate through estate planning, in order to save their loved ones' time and preserve their estate. However, with the right help probate does not have to be a lengthy, complex undertaking.

Are Coloradans responsible for the debts of a deceased loved one?

In today's economy, many people in Colorado carry some form of debt. For example, they may have a mortgage, an auto loan or a credit card account. When a person who has debts passes away, the question who is responsible for paying back these debts arises?

Are there ways to bypass the probate process?

Many Coloradans may wish to avoid having their estate go through probate upon their death. After all, the probate process takes time and costs money, thus diminishing the value of their estate. However, there are certain ways property can be passed on to your loved ones while bypassing the probate process.

What are the duties of a personal representative in Colorado?

When a person in Colorado dies, any assets that are not placed in a trust, do not have a designated beneficiary and are owned solely by the deceased must go through the probate process. When this happens, a personal representative will be assigned by the court. This person's role as a fiduciary is to wind down the deceased's affairs and distribute the assets of the estate to the deceased's heirs.

Colorado law dictates who will inherit in absence of a will

When a person in Colorado dies without leaving behind a will or trust, this is known as dying intestate. What this means is that the deceased's estate will go through the probate process. Because there is no document stating who the deceased wants to inherit their estate, state law determines who is to inherit.

Schroer & Williams Law Offices, PLLC
7045 Campus Drive, Suite 103
Colorado Springs, CO 80920-6560
Phone: 719-473-4355
Fax: 719-380-0299
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